I recently had the chance to give a track bike a pedal. These bikes are fixed gear, have no brakes and no free wheel. They aren’t legal to ride on the road because of sans brakes and sans bell.
But I did give it a few laps around ye ol back yard and found it quite enjoyable. There is definitely a direct drive type feeling where you feel that every effort you make is put in to forward motion. This is quite satisfying. I thought stopping might be a bit weird but it wasn’t too bad if you can plan your stopping and slow down accordingly. This would take a bit of practice to know the distances. I still wouldn’t want to have to emergency brake to avoid an impact. For this, I think I would prefer some kinda brake lever.
The actual ride comfort is pretty firm. Every bump is transferred to your arms and butt. This is because of the super high pressure tyres and stiff frame, designed to impart all the power to the wheels. It also seemed a lot firmer than my other bikes probably because of the aggressive position required to ride the bike with the seat much higher than the handlebars. This is something that I’m very much not used to.
The manoeuvrability is excellent and I found the bike very stable at even the lowest of speeds. I guess this is because the bike is designed to play the cat and mouse games of some cycling events.
Obviously, I didn’t give it a go at the local velodrome but I wouldn’t be against giving it a few laps or a more extensive run. I did make me want a fixie though………. One day!